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Ai Yamanaka

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Data Analytics Program Manager
Aviation Strategy Unit

What is or are your current/previous roles within the Aviation Department at the Port Authority?

Current Role: Data Analytics Program Manager
Previous Role(s): Senior Policy Analyst (2017-2018); Leadership Fellow (2016-2017)

What does a typical day look like for you?

Usually a mixture of meetings with consultants, the core data analytics project team, and then working on presentations, briefings, use-case development and Business Intelligence (BI) training for the department.

What are some of the career paths you’ve taken to get to your current role?

I worked as an Events Coordinator at a non-profit where I learned project management skills. I also worked as a sales manager abroad where I was able to work on my business acumen, communication and presentation skills, and people management. I went back to pursue a Master’s degree in Planning and Statistics to bolster my quantitative skillset and develop a technical specialization before starting at the Port Authority as a fellow.

Who was the biggest influence in your Aviation career?

John Selden, the previous Deputy General Manager at JFK Airport. I was his fellow when I started at the Port Authority and he introduced me to everything Aviation. He was a phenomenal mentor, and inspired me to start my Aviation career.

How do you feel your Aviation career at the Port Authority has created value in your life?

I have a deeper appreciation for the dedicated people who work behind the scenes to move hundreds of millions of passengers and cargo throughout the region. It makes me realize how much we might take for granted in our everyday lives—getting to see a glimpse of how it all works together still fills me with awe.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

I’m a certified yoga teacher! And I also climb things, mostly rocks.

What would you do even if you didn’t get paid to do it?

I love working with people—so teaching. Also would love to get paid to read and write poems.